Phở is as Vietnamese as sushi is Japanese, at least it is over here in most of North America. This ubiquitous noodle soup dish is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think Vietnamese food, and while it’s not the only dish I love, it’s one of my favorite things to have on a cold, rainy Vancouver day.
Phở bò or beef noodle soup is the most common version of phở you’ll find – it’s also the one my mom still makes vats of for family dinners. Although a lot of popular Vietnamese dishes are centered around meat, Vietnam also has a rich culinary tradition of great vegetarian eats, usually reserved for days of religious observance from the Buddhist faith.
So to celebrate a great traditional Vietnamese dish and match it with meatless option, here’s my recipe for Phở Chay or vegetarian pho. This completely vegan version doesn’t lose any points on flavor and goes well with any kind of chewy protein (I’m particular to slices of fried tofu).
Nothing says hearty like a heaping bowl of warm pasta – even better when it takes less than 20 minutes to whip up! This pesto gets all creamy-like with the power of soft tofu and a whirl in a food processor (my favorite kitchen gadget). A note for tofu haters: all you’ll taste is creamy pesto goodness, I promise. Serve it hot and fresh.
Your favourite pasta, cooked and drained
1 cup fresh basil (try Thai basil for a spicier flavor)
1/3 cup almonds or pumpkin seeds
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano or vegan parmesan, or omit it completely but add more lemon and salt
1 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper
300 gram container soft tofu (I use Superior Tofu)
1/3 cup olive oil
1) Add everything except the tofu and olive oil into food processor and give it a whirl until finely chopped. Add the tofu and oil and whirl until you get a creamy, thoroughly mixed pesto sauce.
2) Combine the pesto with your pasta in a pot and quickly warm it up over medium heat.
3) Top it off with some torn basil and fresh cherry tomatoes.
Nothing beats a nice hot soup, especially on moist, gross Vancouver day. Here’s a easy soup that will warm up yer insides and remind you of the better weather to come. Goes great with a grilled cheese, cheeze, or sheeze (?) sandwich – a classic pair.
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots or 1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons flour or tapioca starch
8 vine tomatoes, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme (or tablespoon fresh thyme)
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup non-dairy creamer
2 tablespoons salsa (for an extra kick)
2 teaspoons Sriracha hot sauce (for some heat)
1 tablespoon tomato paste (more tomato flavour)
1) Heat up the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. 2) Add the garlic and onions and saute until tender (about 6-7 minutes). Add the flour and stir for a minute. Add the rest of the ingredients (including your add-ins) except creamer.Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
3) If you’ve got an immersion blender (or a regular blender), give the soup a whirl and add the creamer at the end. Serve with a salad and nice grilled cheeze sandwich.
Spanakopita is awesome. It’s a Greek appy made with a flaky filo with a wicked tasty feta and spinach filling. Here’s my lighter, lazy man take on the Greek must-have. To make these vegan (totally animal-free), replace the eggs with 2 tablespoons of all-purp flour and use non-dairy yogurt and cheese.
Here’s a fresh take on the classic pizza pie. Bring in some spices from Southeast Asia, add some fragrant chopped up Thai basil, top it off with some cheese (in this casem, Daiya, the best dern non-dairy cheese) and you’ve got yourself a Thai Pesto Pizza. Who knew peanut butter would ever find itself on a pizza?